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Iron Beam: The Laser Missile Defense System of Israel

Israel Defense
Israel’s defense capabilities could include laser weapons, with reports suggesting the possible deployment of the Iron Beam system in the near future. Credit: Israel Defense Forces via Facebook

Israel may soon integrate the Iron Beam system into its defense arsenal, expanding its capabilities to include laser weaponry.

Sources recently revealed that Israel is exploring supplementary strategies to strengthen its defense capabilities in the aftermath of the recent Hamas attacks. They are looking beyond the existing Iron Dome system for enhanced security measures.

Iron Beam, developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, is a directed energy air defense system. It was designed to intercept fast moving projectiles using powerful beams of light. Despite the announcement in 2014, the system has not yet been used in active combat operations.

The Iron Beam system was originally scheduled to be deployed in 2025, but the recent military conflict accelerated Israel’s efforts to speed up the implementation. Tests are reportedly underway to integrate the Iron Beam into the national air defense system.

The system recently made headlines around the world due to viral videos in the online space. Numerous images allegedly show Israel testing the Iron Beam laser missile defense system.

Iron Beam System’s Capabilities

Iron Beam, according to Rafael, offers the advantage of precise threat elimination, minimal collateral damage, and negligible costs per intercept.

Other features of the Iron Beam system include the use of a fiber laser to engage targets, an air defense radar, a command and control unit, and dual high-energy fiber optic lasers with a lethal power equivalent to powering several homes for a day.

With a range of up to 4.3 miles, the system is designed to quickly neutralize short-range missiles, artillery, mortar bombs, and UAVs within seconds of the start of combat. Recent experiments reportedly demonstrated its successful interception capabilities against airborne threats.

Experts notice that Iron Beam’s independence from ammunition eliminates supply chain concerns. Additionally, its compact and lightweight build allows for easier mobility and concealment compared to the Iron Dome.

Yet, Iron Beam’s effectiveness is hampered in wet conditions due to the absorption of the laser’s energy by water particles in the atmosphere. Unlike the Iron Dome, it relies on a clear line of sight to the target, necessitating precise placement.

Additionally, it operates at a slower rate of fire, taking around five seconds to transmit sufficient energy to eliminate the threat, the Telegraph reports.

Ukraine’s Requests for Israel’s Defense Tech

For the last year, Ukraine has been requesting Iron Beam and other anti-missile systems from Israel. In 2022, the Ukrainian government sought top air defense systems from Israel, including Iron Beam, Barak-8, Patriot, Iron Dome, and Arrow Interceptor.

The request emphasized the urgent need for defense against potential Russian aggression and the threat of Iranian missile supplies to Russia.

However, the Israeli Defense Minister clarified that the country would not supply the requested weapons due to operational considerations. Instead, Israel expressed a willingness to aid Ukraine by providing a civilian early-warning system.

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